October 29, 2015 Motionless in White & The Devil Wears Level Long Island, NY on 10-17-15 w/ The Color Morale & Upon a Burning Body
Autumn is a time for harvest, and for many bands, it it their final push of the year for touring. With that, reaping the benefits of all their hard work on the road in 2015, Motionless in White and The Devil Wears Prada join forces for a co-headlining bill on the Apollo X Tour that would see them visit cities coast to coast through November 20th. While Motionless in White spent the bulk of their Summer touring with Slipknot, Lamb of God, and Bullet for My Valentine, The Devil Wears Prada spent their days on the mainstage of what would be the final Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival. Two powerful bands in their own right, the tireless Upon a Burning Body and The Color Morale were invited to round out a four band lineup no one wants to miss. Kicking off the five-week trek on Saturday October 17th at The Paramount in Huntington Village on Long Island in New York, the opening night would be set for plenty of Metal excitement ahead.
Beginning the evening was Rockford, Illinois band The Color Morale. Newly joined labelmates of Motionless in White on Fearless Records in 2014, The Color Morale has come a long way since their formation back almost a decade ago. Debuting in 2009 with studio record We All Have Demons, they followed with My Devil in Your Eyes in 2011, but really made a push in 2013 with the powerful Know Hope record. Sustaining their share of changes along the way, including member departure and a new record label, founding vocalist Garret Rapp and Drummer Steve Carey have kept the dream alive. Now including Bassist Mike Honson along with Guitarists Devin King and Aaron Saunders, The Color Morale is one tight band as they continue to tour in support of their 2014 record Hold On Pain Ends.
Spending time with The Word Alive touring in 2014, The Color Morale did not hit the Long Island area on that run, and while the audience was only just arriving, those who were present were amped to see the band. Coming on with no reservations, they began with the intense “Damnaged.” With Rapp seamlessly moving behind Hardcore vocals and soothing clean singing in the vein of Soilwork’s Speed, the melodic guitar work of King’s leads danced through the songs as Saunders crunching rhythm ricocheted off the backbone of Honson’s bass and Carey’s drumming. This became more evident as they moved through a set that included “Smoke and Mirrors,” “Prey for Me,” and “Outer Demons.” Conveying a message about life within their lyrics, The Color Morale attacks topical issues everyone faces, making their music relatable. Playing on with songs like “Between You and Eye,” “Strange Comfort,” and closer “Learned Behavior,” the band was right in the face of the audience until the final note as they exerted every bit of energy they had. Be sure to check out this lively band for some intense, yet highly melodic Metal.
Coming on with a more brutal approach was Sumerian Records Texan band Upon a Burning Body. Seeming as if this band lives on the road, Upon a Burning Body have toured everything from Vans Warped Tour to Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival along with supporting Asking Alexandria, Attila, In This Moment, and so many more in recent years. Together now since 2005, Vocalist Danny Leal, Guitarist Ruben Alvarez, Bassist Rey Martinez, and newly joined in 2014, Drummer Tito Felix, this is a Deathcore outfit that goes for the throat. Known for their classy attire, relentless assault, and blood-boiling live shows, Upon a Burning Body proudly continue to support their third studio album, The World Is My Enemy Now. Having visited The Paramount earlier in 2015, supporting In This Moment, their return would see a larger mix of people aware of them, and ready for their arrival.
With complete darkness drenching the room, a huge bright strobe began to flicker and then a stream of light began to flow from the stage as the band lifted off into “Red Razor Wrists.” Getting bodies moving and the pit starting to sway, they kept the raw emotion coming on “Scars,” “Pledge Your Allegiance,” and the ground-rattling “Bring Your Rain.” Heavy-handed on tunes from The World Is My Enemy, Leal and company also offered up 2012’s Red. White. Green.’s “Sin City” as well as fan favorite “Texas Blood Money.” In a deep groove, Leal had the crowd in the palm of his hand, and sadly, their set ended quickly as they had everyone bouncing for DJ Snake cover “Turn Down For What.” A party igniting tune, everyone was cheering for more, but they will have to wait for Upon a Burning Body’s return, perhaps in 2016. It seems the dedication to the road has paid off for this band as they are compiling quite a fanbase and becoming more cohesive than ever in the process.
Having their heart rates elevated and since broken a sweat, the crowd packed closely to the barricades as co-headliners The Devil Wears Prada were set to begin. Hailing from the Midwest, The Devil Wears Prada is a working class band that has been going strong since 2005. Disenchanted with the state of modern society, Lead Vocalist Mike Hranica pulls no punches with lyrics that constructively attack vanity and materialism. Going right down to their name, not taken from the 2006 film, The Devil Wears Prada battle on with conviction since their 2006 debut album Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord all the way through their most recent concept EP, Space. Building their sound and maturing from record to record, one could argue this band has morphed into a more textured entity than ever before. Sustaining the departure of Keyboardist James Baney and Guitarist Chris Rubey in recent years, The Devil Wears Prada is now adhered by Jeremy DePoyster on rhythm guitar/vocals, Hranica on lead vocals, Andy Trick on bass, and Daniel Williams on drums. Recently visiting Long Island back in August a part of Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, their return would also mark their first visit to The Paramount since 2013 when they shattered the venue with As I Lay Dying.
Excited for the start of the set, the crowd patiently waited as an uneasy wave of bright strobes and colored lights filled the air. This was a prelude to the rampage as the band attacked the stage with 2011’s “Born to Lose” and “Mammoth.” Taking it back to their 2010 Zombie EP, they offered up “Escape” and “Outnumbered” to an intense reaction of heavier moshing in the pit. Hranica, intense in approach, led the band strongly as the crowd was completely hanging on each song, wondering what was next. What came next was the mixture of ambiance and brutality on 2013’s “War” and 2009’s melodic “Assistant to the Regional Manager.”
Already rattling the audience six songs in, the band turned their attention completely to their Space EP for the mid-portion of the set. Transitioning the mood, the atmosphere was set with images of the moon, spaces, and, at times, of pure darkness as star-like lighting filled the stage. Beginning with “Planet A,” every Space song, played in EP order, were being heard by fans ears for the first time live ever. Enthralled in the concept, the addition of Keyboardist Jonathan Gering and Lead Guitarist Kyle Sipress was boldly evident during this portion of the show. With moments of tranquil, introspective ambiance, the rawer sounds meshed seamlessly, and the band’s energy was second to none as they wrapped up with “Asteroid.”
After applause for the performance of Space, they had a few more offerings left, rounding out the set with “Sailor’s Prayer,” “Reptar, King of the Ozone,” and “Danger: Wildman.” With a set giving a spotlight to Space, The Devil Wears Prada showed they are a band that are still progressing into something bigger than they ever were and are. Anyone who discounted the band in the past should really rethink their opinion on them.
Not allowing the audience much time to recoup after The Devil Wears Prada, Motionless in White were set to begin shortly after. Coming from Scranton, PA, Motionless in White is also an ever-morphing band behind the mastery of Lead Vocalist/Lyricist Chris Motionless. Early on labeled as a Metalcore band with their 2007 EP The Whorror and 2009 EP When Love Met Destruction, 2010’s Creatures album saw some progressions. Thinking the band had found comfort in a niche, they blew everyone’s mind in 2012 with the release of Infamous, which saw them shred genre expectations with a darker, broader, more Industrial sound. While confusing to some in the initial fanbase, Motionless in White thrive in challenging themselves as well as their listeners, and that was never more evident than after the release of Reincarnate in 2014. Perhaps their most diverse mix of songs to date, the record topped charts across America and continues to garner big attention a year after its release. Admitting they live for the road, Chris, along with his bandmates Josh Balz (keyboards), Ryan Sitkowski (lead guitar), Ricky “Horror” Olson(rhythm guitar), Devin “Ghost” Sola (bass) and touring drummer Vinny Mauro, were ready to pulverize The Paramount stage.
Known for their Horror movie inspired imagery, as lights went down, a sexy cheerleader ghoul walked onto the stage waving a Motionless in White flag greeted by a sea of screams as each band member arrived. Starting off with “Death March,” Chris let loose with his dynamic vocals, going from screams to crystal clear singing with ease. As each member took their positions, perhaps the most opposing with Keyboardist Balz high above the rest as he was draped in a cloak that masked him in mystique. Setting the table, the fan-favorite “Devil’s Night” came before the inspiring “Unstoppable.” Perhaps self-reflective of naysayers, Chris delivered each lyric with passion that could be felt in the pit of everyone’s stomach. Throwing in some surprises, Infamous’ “Fatal” made its live debut with booming sound that was met by a roar of excitement from fans.
Mesmerizing with the flow of the music, the stage show matched for dark, envisioned eye-candy as Ghost, donned a Michael Myers mask all set long, gazed out into the crowd, evoking chills. As they moved along into “Abigail,” “Undead Ahead,” and “If It’s Dead, We’ll Kill It” it was clear the Horror theme was in full force as production was astounding. Justifying, Chris took a moment to address the crowd and welcomed everyone to opening night of the tour, expressing excitement to bring this massive production he always dreamed of straight to the fans on big stages. He also let everyone in on the party behind the curtains and stated it was in fact his birthday. Seemingly fitting to open the biggest tour of the band’s career on such a date, and after a little more conversation, Chris calmly said “A-M-E-R-I-C-A” as they blasted into the song a second later. With lights flashing and the band moving around the stage, stalking the crowd, they kept the music coming with “Hatefuck” followed by a energized cover of Linkin Park’s “One Step Closer” that had everyone’s jaws dropping.
As pumpkins dressed the backdrop, the gore show continued on with “Break the Cycle” and the return of the ghoulish cheerleader prancing around the stage during “Dead as Fuck.” Not forgetting the past, the throat-ripping “Immaculate Misconception” came before another treat, the emotional, atmospheric “Sinematic.” Having everyone’s full attention, the band wound down the set with “Scissorhands (The Last Snow)” where another character with long flowing white hair came onto the platform and white foam cascade down from the rafters. Seeming like the perfect way to end the night, a relentless cheer came for more. Motionless in White answered the call returning for a fury-filled encore of “Reincarnate.” Once again, added theatricals, a female character dressed as a skeleton came out, water gun in hand, squirting the audience and tossing candy their way for the epic finale.
Motionless in White have pulled out all the stops for the Apollo X Tour. Moving along with no down time, their interjection of props, characters, lighting, and visual effects prove they know how to choreography with the likes of KISS, Alice Cooper, and Marilyn Manson. They excited the audience so much that even after the show concluded, fans remained to sing “Happy Birthday” to Chris, prompting his return for a gracious thank you. Motionless in White are more than meets the eye, and they keep proving that as they continue along. So prepare for this haunting season’s best live concert and get out and see them before the tour ends November 20th.